Are you ready to lead your people into 2016?

It’s rapidly approaching the end of the year and if you’re anything like those that approach me to work with them; this year will either be falling at your feet in submission or standing over you asking what have you achieved this year?

No matter whether it’s been a great year or less than you’d intended, end of year reflections offer you the opportunity to renew and refresh.

The success that many of my leadership clients see, comes from accepting that “the most effective action often begins with a period of reflection, followed by acceptance and then planning”. My question for you is; Have you paused yet to reflect on this year? 

Reflections on your 2015

Here’s 12 questions to help bring a renewed sense of purpose, enthusiasm and the spark needed to make next year the success you want:

Repeating and building on success 

  • What did you aim to achieve this year?
  • What have you achieved?
  • What has gone well this year?
  • What have you done to bring this success about?
  • How could you see even more of this success in 2016?
  • What will it mean for you to repeat your successes?
  • What will you do and how will you know when you’ve been successful?

Opportunities to be even better

  • What didn’t you achieve this year?
  • Which of these elements will have the greatest impact for you and your people in 2016?
  • What would be the impact of seeing success in these elements for your business in 2016?
  • What would need to change in order for you to see success in the elements you have identified? 
  • What will you do and how will you know when you’ve been successful?

Having completed this exercise…

Having reflected on these 12 questions, you’re now ready to identify the success you wish to see and the changes you can make to bring this success about.

An extra question 

Too often we define the activities that need to change but forget to consider who we need to be in order to deliver those changes. Now consider this:

  • Who do you need to remain/become in order to repeat and build on the success you achieved in 2015?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

In the meantime have a wonderful end to 2015.

Stefan

Who am I? Stefan Powell…

I am yourleadershipcounsel, a father, husband, part time rock star and passionately bonkers about helping leaders get the most from themselves and their people.

7 Must Do’s for leaders… 

7 Must Do’s for leaders… 

If you want to be a leader it’s important you know what you’re getting yourself into.

Not for the faint hearted or for those that are only focused on what they can get out of it for themselves; leadership requires the determination to improve, no matter the personal cost and significantly more than innate ability alone.

Anyone can go on a course, apply for a leadership role but in order to become a leader you need to assure yourself you can do the following and then some:

1) Commit

Leadership isn’t a mantle you pick up and put down as you clock in and clock out; it’s a way of living and breathing.

It’s about living and breathing your values in the search of truth and delivery of outcomes for the common good and being at the end of the telephone ready to answer questions or pose them; day or night.

Leadership is about keeping your head when all around you are losing theirs (whilst inside you might be screaming); striving to be better than you were yesterday because you believe in being the best you can be and setting the best example.

Leadership takes absolute commitment.

2) Learn

Leadership is about learning about the world around you, in front of you and behind you. It’s about understanding people, processes, cultures, strategies and your arse from your elbow.

Learning takes time, reflection and an openness to being wrong and learning from it. Asking for help and ideas from your people just as much as seeking support from mentors or ‘elders’.

Leadership is about hiring people whom are better than you; having the self belief that you can provide an environment in which they will flourish and you will learn and grow too.

Leadership is about learning from yourself and others.

3) Practice

Leadership is about practising what you preach and striving to refine and improve what you do and how you do it. Not just what you say and how you say it.

It’s about putting in more hours practicing your speech, 1:1’s and board meetings than you took practicing to pass your driving test (anywhere between 20 and 40 hours).

Leadership is about asking for feedback and acting on that feedback, practicing until you’ve got good enough to show and develop others to walk beyond theirs and your weaknesses.

Leaders know that practice makes perfect and practice, practice, practice themselves.

3) Reflect

Leaders don’t just act they reflect and reflection is tough when you feel like you’ve little time to breath let alone pause and consider; what’s working well, what isn’t and what’s the best thing to do about it.

It’s about reflecting on the impact of a decision today, tomorrow and in the future. On your customer, your people, your performance and your organisation before and whilst making a decision.

Leadership is about reflecting on how far you’ve travelled and how far you have yet to go; reflecting on whether you and your people can make it the whole way or whether one of you has to go, for the greater good.

Leaders reflect to ensure they start faster and finish stronger.

4) Plan

Leadership involves planning and not because someone says so; because you know it really does lead to P.P.P…

It’s about identifying what good looks like, your current reality and identifying what you need to do to bridge the gap; not just tomorrow but the next day and the next day and the next.

Leadership is about recognising that there is always pressure to act, but only the weak lash out; the strong bide their time.

5) Prioritise

Leadership is about recognising that there are only so many hours in a day and miles in a mind.

It’s about starting less and finishing more and knowing what to start, what to stop and what to continue.

Leadership is about knowing who to invite to the table and who not; picking the individual over the many and the many over the few.

Leadership is picking your battles to ensure your people and customers win their war.

6) Put people first

Leadership is about people not processes, policies or machines and the recognition that without people you are nothing is paramount.

It’s about winning hearts as well as minds and helping people to be who they wish to be whilst helping you and your customers on their own journeys.

Leadership is about recognising that we all have wants, hopes, fears and needs and knowing that only when these are addressed are we able to deliver on our promises and not fall on our knees.

Leadership is about people becoming who they were destined to be.

7) Juggle tomorrow

Leadership is about tomorrow; poor management is about today.

It’s about recognising that tomorrow is effected by a single misplaced action whilst holding onto the pragmatic; all is not lost today.

Leadership is creating a tomorrow worth fighting for and a legacy beyond bricks and mortar and sometimes that requires putting off until tomorrow that which cannot be git right today.

Leadership is executing today and tomorrow in the same breath.

It’s not a complete list…

This list isn’t a complete list of attributes, skills or a crib sheet for success; I’ll save that for another day. But If you can step up to the plate and really embrace these elements and believe you can do them you can without doubt be a leader.

The question is do you want to…enough

Questions to consider:

  • How are you measuring up?
  • What would it mean for you to be able to stand confidently against each of these elements
  • What will it mean for you if you don’t?
    If you’d like more insights…

If you’d like help with any of the above elements of leadership; I’d love to work with you.

Twitter: @stefanpowell
E-mail: stefan@yourleadershipcounsel.co.uk
Phone +44 (0) 7736942382

Who am I? Stefan Powell…

I am yourleadershipcounsel, a father, husband, part time rock star and passionately bonkers about helping leaders get the most from themselves and their people.

What my clients have said…


“Stefan has been fundamental in bringing about behavioural change in the leadership population”. Paul Waters – Leading Retail Transformation Programme – Santander

3 ways to use the blog; The 6 traits of great change leaders 

Change is no simple task, no matter what the books or consultants might say. Whilst the benefits may be many, the emotions, physical and mental development required and the practical implications of change mean that we all ‘struggle’ in different ways when asked to change.

Below are 3 ways to use my blog: The 6 traits of great change leaders 

The 6 key traits of great change leaders outlined in my blog are:
  • Compassion
  • Humility
  • Authenticity
  • Narrative
  • Goals
  • Enthusiasm
1) Score yourself 
Score yourself on a scale of 0 – 10 (where 10 is high) on how well you believe you are performing in each of the 6 elements above. Which are your greatest strengths and which are your greatest opportunities to enhance your change leadership?
Once you’ve identified your strengths ask yourself:
  • A) How could I use these strengths to be even more effective in change?
  • B) How will I use the strengths I’ve identified?
  • C) What will be the impact when I do?
Once you’ve identified which of the six elements, when improved, would have the biggest impact on your change leadership effectiveness, ask yourself:
  • A) What could I do to increase my score in this topic by one point?
  • B) What will I do from the ideas I’ve generated?
  • C) What will be the impact when I do?
2) Ask others to score you
Ask your team and your peers to score you for each element above on a scale of 0 – 10 (where 10 is high) gauging how well they believe that you perform in the 7 elements above. Which are your greatest strengths and which are your greatest opportunities to enhance your change leadership?
  • Repeat the steps A) B) and C) above.
3) Reflect as a leadership team on your collective and individual performance
  • A) How could we use these strengths to be even more effective in change?
  • B) How will we use the strengths we’ve identified?
  • C) What will be the impact when we do?
Once you’ve identified which of the six elements, when improved, would have the biggest impact on your change leadership effectiveness, ask yourselves:
  • A) What could we do to increase our score in this topic by one point?
  • B) What will we do from the ideas we’ve generated?
  • C) What will be the impact when we do?
I’d love to hear your reflections.

If you’d like more answers…

If you or your people would like more answers or are unsure of how to proceed; drop me a note or a call, I’d love to speak with you

Who am I? Stefan Powell…

I am yourleadershipcounsel, a father, husband, part time rock star and passionately bonkers about helping leaders get the most from themselves and their people.

What my clients have said…

Stefan has a great skill as a coach in his ability to ask insightful questions at the most opportune times. This enables detailed interrogation of critical situations and has facilitated significant shifts in my thinking to take place. I  have no hesitation in recommending him and his excellent work.” Vanessa Clarke, Director of Undergraduate Leadership Development Programmes at Birmingham City University

Read more testimonials here: Testimonials

The 6 traits of great change leaders 

The 6 traits of great change leaders

Change is no simple task, no matter what the books or consultants might say. Whilst the benefits may be many, the emotions, physical and mental development required and the practical implications of change mean that we all ‘struggle’ in different ways when asked to change

During the organisational change that I have observed, helped to facilitate and lead, there have always been 6 key traits exhibited by the leadership team; for and with their people:

  • Compassion
  • Humility
  • Authenticity
  • Narrative
  • Goals
  • Enthusiasm 
How are you measuring up? Let’s take a look…
Compassion
Change is about letting go of past and current habits, bonds to working practices and feelings and approaches that took time and energy to commit to. It’s also about building emotions to an (as yet) uncertain future and taking the time to understand the emotions, concerns and excitement of those within (and on the outside of) the change ahead. 

Compassion is also about identifying and ensuring that we fill the voids created by the change. You cannot leave an empty space where something would have been, the space needs to be replaced by something new, whether it be emotional or physical. 

Showing compassion doesn’t mean that we take those on the journey who are not willing to make the change or able to, even if they see it’s benefits, but it does mean that we can show compassion towards the emotions and reasons that have caused it and ensure we have given direction or autonomy as needed before making decisions on a persons desire.

As human beings, we are compelled to work with, follow and support those who can acknowledge, support and challenge the emotional connections individuals, teams and work forces have to the past, present and future. Ensuring you apply compassion and understanding ahead of, during and following the change will mean others will follow and not feel forced to change.

Questions to reflect upon
  • How much compassion are you showing ahead of, during and following change? 
  • Would your people agree and would your customers?
  • If you don’t show compassion, how likely are your people when the going gets tough?
Humility
Change has so many facets, twists and turns that no one person can deliver organisational change alone, or has all of the answers. By recognising the ability of others, the insight, skill, support and passion that those around you can bring, you will increase the level of engagement, co-responsibility and commitment to the change proposed. In turn, you will share the challenges and successes of the change throughout and ensure a far greater outcome.
This doesn’t mean letting go of your ambitions, but it does mean leading the change, finding others to govern and manage it, design it, support it, deliver it and work with you to evaluate it. Create a great governance process to ensure you deliver the aims you seek together and work less hard than you will without it.
I know this sounds like standard project fare but I’m sure you’ve seen as many project as I have, where this is in not in play. It wears you as the ‘leader’ out and undermines the part your people want to play.
Questions to consider:
  • How humble and open are you being towards your people and their ideas about how the change can be achieved? 
  • Would your people agree? 
  • Would the person on the street?
  • If you aren’t humble enough to be open, why should your people?
Authenticity
Change requires faith, on some occasions, ‘blind’ faith to a future that has not yet been seen, touched or (as yet) realised. A key requirement within effective change is to be authentically true to yourself your values and your people. This requires being truthful about the benefits of the change as you see them and the why of that change. You need to be open about the challenges you will face, your optimism about how readily you can overcome them together and outline why the challenges you will face are worth overcoming, in the short, medium and long term.
This doesn’t preclude you from being solution focused or from driving for change, it just means that you’re self aware enough to know that your people can spot when you’re trying to paint too rosey a picture and being open creates trust.
Questions to consider:
  • How honest are you being with yourself and your people about the benefits and likelihood of successful change, the expected highs and lows and the demands that will be faced? 
  • Would your people agree? 
  • Would the person on the street?
  • If you don’t believe, why should your people?
Narrative
Change is so much easier to accept when it is tangible. Take the time to attach the envisaged future to the past and the present by telling the story of how your organisation has successfully changed before. 
Discuss and highlight examples that have occurred previously and talk your people through the journey you’ll go on together; talk them through the plan, it’s stages and the intended milestones. 
Creating a change narrative heightens the recognition that change happens all the time and that you can and will get through change as you have all done before. Paint pictures of how this time will be different and how it will be similar. Describe how the change will either build on the great company you have or regain the greatness you once exhibited by describing what will be seen, heard and felt along the way and at its fruition.
Questions to consider:
  • How clear are you being with yourself and your people about the journey you’ll go on together and the difference that will be seen at the end?
  • Would your people agree? 
  • Would the person on the street?
  • If you can’t help your people to touch, taste, think, feel, see and hear what the future will bring, how do you propose that they will grab it with both hands and either pull themselves or it towards it?
Goals
Change cannot be recognised, celebrated or ‘tweaked’ if it cannot be measured. Ahead of the change agree what you want to achieve, see, hear, think and feel at the end of the change and at key milestones throughout the change. This will enable you to demonstrate progress and celebrate successes with your people and evaluate ways to build on that success.
We all need to believe that we are moving forward and that the changes and benefits we envisaged are being realised. Not having a clear goal (or narrative) in change, is like being told to “go and have a look and you’ll find it”, without being told what ‘it’ is or how to find it.
Questions to consider:
  • How well defined are the outcomes you seek?
  • Have your goals been co-created and bought into by your people or are your people being forced to change?
  • Would your people agree? 
  • Would your customers?
Enthusiasm
Change brings out the best and worst in others and before we move forward we need to believe that the outcome is possible and that we all hold the energy to make it happen. Be positive about the future and most of all yours and your peoples ability to make that change possible. If you don’t believe, why should they? And if you can’t believe in your people and they can’t believe in you, why should they come together to make the change happen?
Questions to consider:
  • What would need to change in order for both myself and our people to be able to take this step?
  • What could both myself and our people do to facilitate the change we seek and what will be the impact on them and our overall ambition when we do?
  • What if we don’t do that?

For 3 ways to use this article…
I hope you’ve found the above thought provoking. One of the key elements for change is the “how” of making it happen. If you’d like 3 ways to use the above to enhance your chance of change success, click HERE

If you’d like more answers…

If you or your people would like more answers or are unsure of how to proceed; drop me a note or a call, I’d love to speak with you

Who am I? Stefan Powell…

I am yourleadershipcounsel, a father, husband, part time rock star and passionately bonkers about helping leaders get the most from themselves and their people.

What my clients have said…

Stefan has a great skill as a coach in his ability to ask insightful questions at the most opportune times. This enables detailed interrogation of critical situations and has facilitated significant shifts in my thinking to take place. I  have no hesitation in recommending him and his excellent work.” Vanessa Clarke, Director of Undergraduate Leadership Development Programmes at Birmingham City University

Read more testimonials here: Testimonials

Leadership: Can Leadership Courses Change Ingrained Behaviours?

Leadership: Can Leadership Courses Change Ingrained Behaviours?

The following is a response to a comment made in a wonderful thread on Linkedin by Dr Payal. C, asking if a 3 – 4 day course could change a manager who had learned their ingrained habits over 30 – 35 years. Here is my reply:

For me, it is possible to create the change you seek with deep seated habitual behaviours by tapping into ideal self, values and reframing what great leadership looks sounds and feels like and the impact this makes in alignment with these values, using a range of interventions, but not in a one off 3 – 4 day course – although a significant amount can be achieved

A course must be delivered so that every behaviour change is communicated in such a way as it creates an attitudinal shift and acceptance. Ideally experience of the approaches conveyed will take place on the workshop and an overall framework of leadership and a guiding methodology will be defined and explored and must be communicated to connect with all social styles across the group and individually.

Including all of these elements will, when delivered by expert facilitators, ideally coaches and individuals with leadership success themselves, create a significant shift in those attending and increase the likelihood and ideally acceptance of the content delivered – but in truth to create the long term behavioural and cultural change you seek will take much more for most people of the nature you describe. Excellence in leadership no matter the starting point takes a great deal of time, energy and commitment.

In truth…

In truth, no matter how good the programme and delivery, (and this comes from an experienced sales leaders who drives for action and who has created life changing shifts in people in one coaching session) the reality is that at best, a concentrated 3 or 4 day group workshop will create an attitudinal shift and a foundation to begin trialling the new behaviours in the field only.

In order to move beyond this and ensure that an attitudinal and behavioural shift does take place there are a number of elements which need to sit around this including; a clear organisational purpose, values, strategy and internal and external journey maps which those attending ascribe.

There must be obtained ‘buy in’ to how the leadership approach supports and underpins the attainment of the organisational success and purpose (as opposed to the existing approach) and open and honest feedback demonstrating that a change in behaviour in the existing leadership/management population is ‘required’.

The overall purpose and behavioural change sought will ideally be communicated and exhibited from the ‘top down’, clear benefits shown to the individual will be aligned with individual values and the long term impact of not making the step to the ‘new’ behavioural approach (including the support that will be provided to get there) will be communicated.

Ideally, all of this will then be delivered 1:1 by a respected line manager and the proposed delegates will choose (choice to opt in or opt out is imperative) to attend with an understanding of why they are attending, what the organisation, department and line manager are looking for from the programme along with agreed clarity of attitudinal and behavioural changes.

During the discussion, it should be clearly articulated that the behavioural changes are sought as a result of and through implementing the behaviour beyond the course and not expected in full as a result of only attending the workshops.

Where this joint agreement and understanding is achieved, the delegate should progress to the course with an agreement that a clear development plan will be constructed before and post the course with ongoing evaluation, recognition and support in making the changes.

The course in its own right, should cover only the number of skills elements which can be covered with sufficient time to accept, understand, practice, reflect and retry the behavioural changes with effective trainer/coach feedback.

As stated, this approach will create an attitudinal shift and foundation to begin trialling the new behaviours in the field and a defined plan of mentoring, observation, feedback and coaching with ‘sign off’ for the live application of each skill will be necessary.

Performance Management, Reward and Recognition … 

Over and above this, based on experience, a clear and transparent link to performance management, with an aligned reward and recognition scheme will need to be in place to ensure that the behavioural shifts desired are acknowledged, documented and formally reinforced.

In essence the whole process needs to be led ahead, during and following attendance through to fruition and treated as the fully aligned, planned and implemented change programme that would be afforded process and system change, with a clearly communicated and bought into case for action.

No matter, whether the leadership population is as you describe, or indeed is naturally engaged, I would advocate the same time and consideration is afforded, where you wish to see sustained behavioural and cultural change.

Over the past 15 years…

Over the past 15 years I have led, delivered and facilitated significant cultural, organisational, people, product and process change, along with business development. In my experience the only ‘shortcuts’ exist not within the process, but in the quality of the leadership team delivering the change, forming part of the change and the trainers, coaches and facilitators. Indeed, it’s this very realisation of the importance of the change system within which all this sits, which led to the development of my own ‘leading change model’ – A.I.R.I.S.E – which is founded upon the ideal of creating the right environment for organisation, team and individual change and growth.

Thank you for prompting me to put finger to keyboard. I hope this share has been useful and would love to hear your thoughts.

Many thanks

Stefan

What has been your experience?

I’d love to hear from you and how you have found the development you or others have seen during your leadership journey.

Stefan

Director – Your Leadership Counsel (Trading as Pinion Performance Ltd)

Generating an environment for growth…

Let me know what you think by dropping a comment below, or by sending me an email at stefan@yourleadershipcounsel.co.uk

Twitter: @stefanpowell

Example Testimonial

Below is just one example of the results you can achieve when you train, mentor and coach.

“Inspirational – easy, thorough and methodical to work with while also intuitive, imaginative, creative, incredibly flexible and very accommodating”. Wendy Stern – Founder and Chair of Action For Involvement – http://www.actionforinvolvement.org.uk